White Bean and Onion Soup with Puya Chili Oil Croutons

September 8, 2011

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The weather here in D.C. calls for nothing other than soup. It’s wet, sticky, a virtual swamp. And gray- very, very gray. 

Lucky for me, MarxFoods sent me some chilies to spice things up. MarxFoods has asked several food bloggers to whip up new and interesting recipes using their chilies. They asked me to contribute and generously sent me a variety of dried chilies to experiment with, many I’d never tried before. I sorted through the package of mulato chilies, cascabels, habaneros (whoa!), and japones, but decided on the puya chilies which were described as having a medium heat level with a spicy kick. Perfect.

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I fell in love with their deep ruby red color and knew I simply had to have them.  And because I crave soup on rainy days, I decided to incorporate these chilies into soup.

I wanted to make a chili oil, so I followed the technique found at MarxFoods blog and put my own spin on it.

I started by blending my little darlings to bits.

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And let them infuse in a half cup of olive oil for about five minutes.

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Then I added 3 cloves of minced garlic and let it infuse for another 5 minutes, until my whole kitchen smelled of fire and spice.

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Then, I poured the oil  (chilies, garlic and all) over cubes of bread (crouton sized) to make the chili oil croutons.

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I tossed them in the oil to get a good coating and baked in a baking pan for 10 minutes, until toasted.

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Inevitably, I touched my fingers to my eyes which nearly blinded me. Making the following a bit of a challenge… and a blur.

The soup. While the croutons toasted, I made soup! On the stove top, I combined 2 cans of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) with 1/2 a coarsely chopped yellow onion, 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter. 

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Once the onions became tender, I added about 3 cups water and a bouillon cube (veggie bouillon) and let it simmer for 20 minutes. To make it smooth, I used an immersion blender to puree.

I topped my inviting bowl of soup with my fancy chili oil croutons and dug in. It was so flavorful, a surprisingly tasty mid week meal. The puya chili oil gave it the perfect amount of warmth.

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Oh, and that green you are seeing is a lightening quick blend of basil and parsley (just a few leaves of each) with a glug of olive oil and some lemon juice. It was a spur of the moment element that lightened up the soup a bit. You could definitely incorporate it into a variety of dishes.

Thank you to MarxFoods for inviting me to participate in this food challenge and for supplying the dried chilies used in this recipe!

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. White Bean Hummus Soup
  2. Curried Cauliflower Soup with Spiced Croutons
  3. White Bean and Kale Soup
  4. Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup with Mustard Croutons
  5. Curried Black Bean, Coconut, and Sweet Potato Soup

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristina September 16, 2011 at 8:25 am

Those croutons look amazing! I wish I could jump in and get one.

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Maren September 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm

This is a very neat way to use the chiles. I bet the croutons were the best you’ve ever tasted! And hopefully a little spicy.

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Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) September 12, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I REALLY like this crouton idea! Will definitely try this in the future. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods September 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm

You’re welcome! So glad you like it.

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Homer September 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Toasted Bread + Heat = Awesome! I could eat those croutons just by themselves!

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Ashley@BakerbyNature September 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

Those chili’s are making me swoon – i love the spice! Once it finally buckles down to chilly weather here in NYC, I will be living off soup.

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Ranjani September 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm

mmmm…chile oil is delicious. In spite of the cool weather and rain this week here in MA, I am not ready to accept the fact that it is soup season, but I’ll keep this recipe in mind for later on =)

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods September 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

haha! I completely understand.

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet September 9, 2011 at 6:21 am

Great looking soup! Such a creative idea for croutons.

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Love this idea! I just bought some dried chilis and was trying to find a good use. I bet it that infused olive oil would make a delicious popcorn topping too. Hmmm…

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods September 9, 2011 at 7:53 am

Chili oil is delicious on popcorn- go for it! :)

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